Welcome to the Nicholson's MusiCafé JAZZ Jam Sessions Home Page!

The Latest Jam Session News Things Players Need To Know! Links
Photo Gallery
(current gallery under construction)
The Tuning Note Music Studio
lessons in piano, trumpet and jazz improvisation
Photo Gallery
(check out the pictures from the old jazz jam sessions!)


Bolivia (Freddie Hubbard / Warsaw, Poland 1991)
many notes are played
even those that are missing
are you listening?
- joey ventitelli -

The Latest Jam Session News and More       (Next Jam: TBD ):


  • Thank you to all those who come out to play. What a great opportunity for musicians of all levels of experience to play with some great professional jazz musicians! Spread the word!
  • When there are 5 Tuesdays in the month, we play both the 4th and 5th Tuesdays!! This August we play both August 22 and August 29!

    Vocalists are encouraged to sit in! Please remember this is a jazz jam session, so it would be best to have an understanding of the songs sung in a jazz jam session (jazz standards, etc.). Unless you sing the tune in the 'standard key', please come prepared with charts in your key, or at least know what keys you sing each song in. If you bring charts, bring at least concert key for the pianist and bassist; Bb parts are also cool to have for trumpet and soprano sax/tenor players.
    Remember to tip the folks serving the drinks, etc. And spread the word! Great music every 4th Tuesday!

  • *******************

    PLAYERS/SINGERS: A few notes to live by!!.....

    Thank you to all who come out to play. Remember it's also about supporting each other too, so please keep your talking to a minimum and always clap after each solo (as is customary).

    Some in the past have played a full chorus of the melody at the end of their solo - DON'T DO THAT! Playing the actual full melody should be reserved for the very last chorus before we end the tune.

    Be sure you check out the photo galleries above - new pictures will be added when we have new players or special guests!


    P.S. Click the following link to check out pictures from the great cookout/jam session I hosted up at my place on Nov. 4, 2006! 


    Thoughts: Our format is more based on the New York style jam session. Rather than calling players up, everyone is invited to play on each tune. Just help me remember to ask the bass player and drummer if they need a break!

    If you have any questions about how we are running the jam sessions, don't hesitate to come to me directly, or e-mail me.

    Tunes: Each week it is best to come prepared with 2-3 tunes to play. Unless you bring in music of your own to pass out to the house band, please choose your tunes from the Real Book (either old or new).
    Below is a sample list of standards in various styles (I'll add to it as time permits). Some tunes are so classic that their orginal arrangements are played as well, such as 'shout choruses', intros or endings (e.g., Recordame's shout chorus or the ending to Joy Spring):
    Autumn Leaves Bye Bye Blackbird
    Joy Spring Ballad...
    Darn that Dream
    One Note Samba Wave

    Come back often to check our updates and any news about surprise guests joining us and more.
    Any questions, just send me an e-mail.

    Things Players Need to Know!

    Again, thank you for taking the time to come out and play! That said, in order to make this the best experience for all there are a few things to be aware of, such as stage etiquette, as well as how to shape your solos, and much more. More on that to come soon...

    One such way to improve your playing is to occasionally incorporate some ii-V-I patterns. Here's a very nice pattern...I recommend you learn it in all 12 keys!:

    There are a few players who come out that are not as familiar with the chord changes for a jazz blues.  As a result, you will find below the standard chord changes for a blues, but a jazz blues:

    The below shows a jazz blues, but using Roman Numerals to show the root movement for each chord, "I" being the key you're in:
                 |    I7   |   IV7   |    I7   |    I7   |   IV7   |   IV7   |   I7    |   VI7    | ii min7 |   V7   |    I7          |   V7            ||
    Example 1:   |   Bb7   |   Eb7   |   Bb7   |   Bb7   |   Eb7   |   Eb7   |   Bb7   |    G7    |  Cmin7  |   F7   |   Bb7          |   F7            ||
    Example 2 adds 2 more chords in the turnaround, or last two measures...
    Example 2:   |   Bb7   |   Eb7   |   Bb7   |   Bb7   |   Eb7   |   Eb7   |   Bb7   |    G7    |  Cmin7  |   F7   |   Bb7    G7    |   Cmin7    F7   ||
    Example 3 adds still more chords in measures 7 and 8...
    Example 3:   |   Bb7   |   Eb7   |   Bb7   |   Bb7   |   Eb7   |   Eb7   | Bb7  A7 | Ab7  G7  |  Cmin7  |   F7   |   Bb7    G7    |   Cmin7    F7   ||
    There are many more examples, but the above are just a few to illustrate the differences in the Rock and Chicago-style blues chord progressions, as compared to a blues played in jazz.

    Suggested Recordings:
    It can not be stressed enough to just listen to the masters and how they phrased, interacted with each other, everything. Each time you listen to a recording, if you're really listening, you'll hear something new every time. Below are some suggested recordings to listen to (more added as time permits):

    Album Name Artist(s)Suggested Tune(s)
    Kind Of Blue Miles DavisSo What, All Blues

    Instrument Repair
    One contact I have is Bill at SacTown ZeBops, out of Rocklin.  His number is 916-502-6953.
    Of course there's Nicholson's Music. Their number is (916) 983-0763.


    The jazz jam sessions are held at Nicholson's MusiCafé, at 632 Bidwell St., and run every 4th Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:45.
    Note: when there are 5 Tuesdays in the month, we play both the 4th AND the 5th Tuesday!
    (unless a holiday, in which case check back here to see if we're playing).

    Keep listening and transcribing! See you next time at Nicholson's MusiCafé!

    artwork by
    Debra Hurd